"A trefoil in the woods" - PIK scientists move into new research building

09/28/2015 - Potsdam´s climate science moves into a new, energetically highly innovative research building. The modern facility with a ground plan shaped like a trefoil will accomodate not only about 200 scientists on four floors, but also the new supercomputer of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) that is among the 400 fastest high-performance computers worldwide. Brandenburg´s Minister of Research, Sabine Kunst, as well as Stefan Müller, State Secretary of the Federal Ministry for Education and Research, and Matthias Kleiner, President of the Leibniz Association, congratulated the institute at the festive opening for its exceptional building - which itself is a research project, too.
"A trefoil in the woods" - PIK scientists move into new research building
The new buildings front is made of wood - harmonizing with the surrounding forest. Photo: Lindenhan

"The new 'trefoil in the woods' offers space to continue our excellent research and gain new scientific insights on climate change," said PIK director John Schellnhuber. "On this unique site of science history, we complement world famous Potsdam research buildings such as the 19th century imperial astrophysical observatory or the Einstein Tower, an architectural gem of the 20th century, with a trendsetting house for the 21st century." The new building is situated on a small glade, embedded in the historic grounds of Potsdam´s Telegraph Hill. The wooden front and the ground plan that resembles a trefoil let the building appear less massive and integrate it harmonically into the forest.

Financed by the Brandenburg state and the German government, the new building has been completed after three years of construction work. Different methods and materials have been used for the insulation of the outer walls, and their efficiency will be assessed in a research project by the Technical University Dresden during the next three years. With a performance of 212 trillion calculations per second, PIK's new supercomputer is integrated in the basement of the building. With its waste heat, the whole new research building can be heated without using any additional sources. The high-performance computer allows PIK to run six to nine times more simulations compared to the previously installed system. Its costs of 4.4 million euros were mostly financed  by the European Regional Development Fund.

Sabine Kunst, minister for science, research and culture of Brandenburg, said, “The opening of the new research building of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research will greatly improve working conditions at this internationally recognized research institution and significantly extend its technical opportunities. The science campus on Potsdam's Telegraph Hill with its world-class institutes has gained a new architectural gem. This shows again that as a place for research, Brandenburg not only has an impressive history and attractive and productive potential today, but that we continue to strengthen this potential.”

“It was science that has put climate change on the political agenda. And it will be science that can assess and recommend the necessary mid- and long-term measures. So it is important that climate science, which is so significant for our environment and our life, has the best working conditions – including the building technology,” said parliamentary state secretary Müller at the opening of the new building.

“Leibniz institutes dedicate themselves to urgent challenges of our society; which clearly counts in climate change. To make global change manageable, scientific expertise is needed. This expertise is provided comprehensively, on the national as well as on the international level, by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the Leibniz PIK. Here, scientific results emerge based on most modern infrastructure. The new building with its integrated high-performance computer now creates even better conditions to get quick answers to current questions about climate change. Eventually, all humankind will benefit from this,” congratulated Matthias Kleiner, president of the Leibniz Association, at the festive opening of the building.


Weblink to further informationen on the new building: https://www.pik-potsdam.de/services/infothek/telegraphenberg-d/forschungsneubau

Weblink to high-performance computer:

Weblink to further information on the historic buildings on Telegrafenberg hill:

Weblink to historic pictures of these buildings: